A 2,700 MEGATON asteroid might hit Earth this October


NASA asteroid: Giant space rock slamming Earth

The imposing asteroid, dubbed Asteroid FT3, will come barreling past our home planet on October 3, 2019. NASA expects the flyby to mark the first of 165 approaches between 2019 and 2116. On any one of these asteroid flybys, the risk of cataclysm is low but should the asteroid veer off course and straight into Earth, the results could be cataclysmic. Asteroid FT3 is a monstrous rocky object measuring an estimated 1,115ft (340m) in diameter.

NASA further estimates the asteroid weighs an incredible 55,000,000,000kg.

If the asteroid were to ever hit the Earth, at the point of atmospheric entry, the rock would slam into the planet at 20.37km per second or more than 45,500mph.

The force of impact would likely be equal to 2,700 megatons of TNT or 2,700,000,000 tons of TNT.

For comparison, the nuclear bomb dropped on Japan's Hiroshima in 1945, towards the end of World War Two, was in the range of 13 kilotons to 18 kilotons – 13,000 to 18,000 tons of TNT.

 NASA asteroid: Giant space rock over Earth

NASA asteroid: The giant space rock weighs 55,000,000,000kg (Image: GETTY)

The first day on which this could happen falls on October 3 this year.

After that, NASA estimates a small chance of the asteroid hitting us on October 2, 2024, and then on October 3, 2025.

Asteroid FT3 is a so-called Apollo-type space rock, meaning it follows an orbit similar to asteroid 1862 Apollo.

The trajectory also means it circles the Sun within the confines of the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter.

NASA first spotted the rock on March 20, 2007, and has since confirmed FT3’s orbit based on a total of 14 observations.

The US space agency said: “In the unlikely case where a particular potential impact event persists until the orbit is relatively well constrained, the impact probability and associated risk will tend to increase as observations are added.

“This is not too paradoxical: If an asteroid is indeed going to come very near the Earth then a collision cannot be ruled out early on.

“The impact probability will tend to grow as the orbit is refined and alternative and safer trajectories are eliminated.

 NASA asteroid: Giant space rock over Earth

NASA asteroid: The odds of impact are incredibly low for this year (Image: GETTY)

“Eventually, the impact probability will drop – usually quite abruptly – to zero or, if the asteroid is really on a collision trajectory, it will continue to grow until it reaches 100 percent.”

So, what are the odds of this asteroid striking the Earth in October?

Thankfully, the risk is incredibly low but it is not non-existent.

There is a small chance – about one in 11,000,000 – Asteroid FT3 will crash into us in the next three months.

The odds of impact translate into a 0.0000092% chance of cataclysm or a 99.9999908% chance the asteroid will miss Earth.

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